21 February 2024 last updated at 21:37 GMT
Adidas is Team India’s new kit sponsors
Thursday 23 February 2023

The German sports multinational will be replacing Killer, ending BCCI’s hunt for a reputed sponsor for the Indian cricket team

For a sporting body that thrives on media rights proceeds, kit sponsorship is more an opportunity to add chutzpah to its brand. Adidas, which is set to take over as kit sponsors for the Indian cricket team, will do that to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The sports goods giant will take over from Killer in June, in a five-year deal. “The fine print of the contract is being worked out. But the valuation is set to go up,” a BCCI official said.

Killer, a lesser-known apparel brand, took over the kit sponsorship from MPL that wanted to end its contract that was to run till 2023 end. MPL was paying the Indian board ₹65 lakh per match and ₹9 crore as royalty for a three-year deal.

Primarily jeans-makers, Killer’s deal with BCCI is for five months, which market experts call a win-win situation for the brand.

“Imagine, they get to leverage from Virat Kohli, who is a Puma athlete, and Rohit Sharma, an Adidas athlete, with this association,” a leading industry executive said. “No wonder, Killer are happy to stretch their deal through April-May, which are basically IPL months, where the Indian team will not even be on the park.”

It is understood Killer was ready to extend the contract but BCCI wanted a reputed global sports maker to join.

Adidas first bid for the Indian team sponsorship back in 2006, but finished third in a closed auction to Reebok and eventual winners Nike. Nike extended its association with Indian cricket many times; it last paid BCCI ₹85 lakh per match and a royalty of ₹30 crore.

In early 2020, before the onset of the pandemic, Nike took an about turn on its India focus. Also, sponsoring the India team was proving too expensive in a market where counterfeit jersey sales is common.

BCCI then went in search of reputed brands, but market forces held the same opinion as Nike and no one wanted to join at the asking price. That’s when MPL came forward at a revised valuation in what was essentially a marketing deal for its eSports and gaming business. Unable to sustain the high sponsorship spend, it wrote to BCCI in late 2022 that it wanted out.

Finally, the Indian cricket team, involving the biggest stars in the game, has regained a kit provider of appropriate standing in Adidas, kit sponsors to Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal.

As per the Future Tours Program (2023-27), India will play 141 matches – 38 Tests, 42 ODIs and 61 T20Is. They will also feature in two ODI World Cups, two T20 World Cups and a Champions Trophy.


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